It’s Long Overdue ~ Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

There’s part of me that wants to pretend that there’s nothing unusual about falling off the face of the blogging world for over six months and then casually popping in for another post like I’m right on schedule. Not that I ever actually had a schedule going around here, but I was rather consistent about posting once a month…or so.

The other side of me wants to make a BIG deal out of this. Hey WORLD!!! I’m BACK!!! And look what I brought ya!!!!

That, I tell myself, sounds rather obnoxious though, so I won’t. You’re welcome.

It’s been six months of significant season change, from a lovely autumn, a fairly mild winter (that is, on the days when it wasn’t snowing or icing), a spring of rain, storms, and more rain, to another hot, hot summer. Tell me, how does the ground go from oozing water like a soaked sponge, to cracking from dry heat in less than a week???

My life has been considerably less drastic.

IMG_1093I bought a new cutting board!  Yeah, not much to say here…

Actually, you want to know what I haven’t talked about since this post in August of 2013?? My braces! Well, they are off now folks, as of September 2014. It wasn’t as thrilling as I was hoping since the adult canine died, but hey, it’s where it’s supposed to be now and seems sturdy enough. I don’t even have to wear that horrendous retainer! As far as I’m concerned, I can happily forget the whole thing happened. I’m sure you were dying to know the rest of the braces saga, so there you have it!

So, in spite of the fact that I haven’t posted since 2014, I do still cook…just as much as ever, as my Instagram can attest. (You can pretty much blame that app for the seemingly imminent demise of my blog.) What brings me back, you ask?

Well, it’s this…


I made it for a party, innocently enough, and…well, people just got addicted. Every other person wanted the recipe and I scolded myself for not having blogged it already so I could just pass out my blog address rather than racking my brain trying to remember what I actually put in it. Yep, I’ve returned to the old habit of not making notes while I cook (and creating run on sentences that you can barely get through without stopping for breath!). Oops!

I made it again today because I think my original taste testers have pretty good taste when it comes to good food. I’m pretty sure, if they liked it, than you will too.

And let me tell ya’, this is a salad for summer! Sweet, spicy, refreshing, light and yet filling. Okay, I hear you, I’ll stop the wordage already and get with the recipe!

Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 2 mangos, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, cored, diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 t. minced garlic
  • 1 t. honey
  • 2 T. sesame oil, or other mild flavored oil (not toasted sesame)
  • 1/4 t. red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and cubed

IMG_1160Rinse quinoa. Drain, then add enough water to the pan to cover the quinoa by about an inch. I use the first joint on my index finger to measure from the top of the grain, because I dislike measuring liquid for grains. Weird, I know.

Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and lower heat to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes or until all the water is cooked out. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temp (or refrigerate for later use) and fluff with a fork.


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Peel mangos and cut into bite-sized pieces.

IMG_1110Dice the red pepper, purple onion (Can we just come to terms with the fact that this variety of onion is not red and should not be called red?), and the jalapeno. This is my favorite way to de-core a pepper…

IMG_1122Chop cilantro and add to prepared ingredients. Let’s just stop and relish the colors for a moment, shall we?

IMG_1134Purple, that onion is totally purple.

Mix the juice of the limes, honey, red pepper flakes, oil, and garlic in a jar or cup and pour over ingredients.

IMG_1130Add cooled quinoa to bowl and toss lightly. The avocados should go in at the last minute…or at least a couple hours before.

IMG_1139Salt and pepper to taste. Please don’t over stir! Once the avocado is added, you want to mix as little as possible so it doesn’t just mush together.

IMG_1151Enjoy as a side for grilled chicken, or eat it as a meal all on it’s own!

Before the next mouth watering photo, I would like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you. Thank you to my loyal readers who have stayed with me even though I ditch you for 6 months at a time. And thank you to my new visitors for getting this far in reading this post! Welcome and I hope you enjoy what you find here on Stir it Up!!


Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

I want to keep this recipe a secret. I really do.

But I can’t. It would be reprehensible of me to refuse to share this gem of a cookie with my readers. Besides, you deserve something really good after such a long wait. Please accept my apology in the form of this chocolaty, tangy morsel.


It’s not just my recipe either. My good friend, Tanisha, joined me in the kitchen last night, and this is what came of it. Great things happen when friends end up in the kitchen. This cookie is proof.

More often than not, my inspiration for creating a dessert recipe is found in a decadent sweet that has enough simple carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar levels elevated for weeks. On top of that, it’s usually void of any nutritional value.

I think I can speak for Tanisha, too, when I say, our goal is to make desserts that rival the original in taste while adding a lot of powerful nutrients.

In this case it was the Double Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies, one of our winter time favorites, that got a complete health makeover.

No white flour (actually, no grains at all), no gluten, no refined sweetener. Just the good stuff, plain and simple. Cranberries are high in antioxidants (as are pomegranates, so feel free to substitute.) and so is dark chocolate, so consider this your immunity boost for cold season. (See disclaimer below.)

IMG_1028Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Recipe created by Sarah and Tanisha
  • 1 c. almond flour
  • 1 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. arrowroot powder
  • 5 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips or chunks

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment.

2. Combine almond flour, cocoa powder, soda, arrowroot powder. Cut in butter. (I used my fingers because I’m lazy and didn’t want to get out any equipment.)

3. Mix in honey, egg, and vanilla.

4. Add chocolate and cranberries.

5. Eat some cookie dough.

6. Place dough in heaping tablespoons on the parchment covered sheet, leaving room to spread a little.

7. Bake for 12 minutes.

8. Slide parchment on to a cooling rack and repeat steps 5-9.

9. Enjoy!


Disclaimer –

I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition, or disease, though my suggestions may prove helpful. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease. Howbeit, every food one chooses to consume either greatly benefits one’s health, or diminishes thereof.

This is merely a food blog in the most colossal way possible. The information held on this blog is solely the opinion of a layman of the kitchen. The research and information covered in this blog is open to public domain for discussion and in no way breaches or breaks the boundaries of any law that I currently know of. I am not a doctor nor do I claim to have any formal medical background, however my background with food from decades in the kitchen is extensive. I am not liable, either expressly or in an implied manner, nor claim any responsibility for any emotional or physical problems that may occur directly or indirectly from reading this blog or the baking and eat of the recipes hereon.

Mexican Chocolate Pudding Souffles with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

It must be the colder weather.

I’m craving spicy in everything from cheese stuffed Anaheim peppers to fruit smoothies kicked off with ginger and cayenne. (Seriously, you have to try this mixture of ingredients in the blender – fresh pineapple, oranges, lemons, coconut oil, honey, ice, fresh ginger and cayenne pepper. Yum!!!!)

So you won’t find it hard to believe me when I tell you I made Mexican chocolate in two different forms two nights in a row. I hardly make anything twice in a row, so this was really something for me!

The idea started off with the leftover roasted yam in the refrigerator. It was so sweet and gooey I just had to add cocoa to it. And, with autumn in the air, there’s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t put cinnamon and some heat in it, too.

Hello, again, cayenne pepper!

These delightful souffles are grain and gluten free, have no refined sugar, and are easily dairy free as well… if you leave off the whipped cream and use the alternative milk, of course.

IMG_0989Mexican Chocolate Pudding Souffle

  • 2 c. cooked yam or sweet potato, preferably, not the starchy ones.
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
  • 3 T. coconut flour
  • 1 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 c. milk (cow, almond, any kind will do.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour all of the above ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl.


  • 8 egg whites
  • 1/2 t. cream of tartar

…and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Spoon mixture into 10-12 mugs (depends on the size of your mugs) filling just until 2/3 full.

Turn oven down to 325 degrees and bake souffles for 25 minutes.

IMG_1006Let cool slightly before topping with whipped cream and serving.

Cinnamon Maple Whipped Cream

  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon

Whip until desired consistency, or pour into a cream whipper.

IMG_1015I chose to bake these in mugs because warm mugs are just cozy and their easy and you don’t even have to grease them. AND, they leave the perfect amount of room on the top for all the whipped cream you could want. Well, maybe…